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Summer Camps and the Coronavirus

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I talked with two friends. One is on the National Camping AND National Special needs Committees.  The other is a current SE. 

From the first, a conference call last week had 450 folks on it.   
From the second, each states health department has a majority vote on any and all camps opening up.

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9 hours ago, BBQ said:

As a Scout leader, I am concerned that BSA and the councils are not showing leadership. Leaders are also parents. Perhaps BSA is creating a game of chicken to keep the camp deposits.

Welcome to the forum, @BBQ. My council recently sent out email saying they would only open if allowed. Then they added that if they're allowed the refund policy still stands (i.e., no refund). So, if a scout has a family member that's diabetic, for example, and doesn't want to take a risk bringing home the virus then they take the loss I guess. So yes, money is clouding my council's view just like it always has.

But, I seriously doubt scout camps are going to be allowed to open in most states. That's just my 2 cents, but we have plateaued on cases only because we've plateaued on tests.

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So far, not a single one of my kids camps have cancelled.  GSUSA, BSA, Zoo, various museums, college nor a local ecology center.   YMCA, JCC and other major overnight 3+ week camps are still going.  Without these camps, many parents will not be able to work or they resort to less than ideal solutions where older family members are watching kids.  I have seen countless examples of <15 year olds being watched by >70+ year olds … a very BAD combination which seems to be increasing daily.  Having these kids go between camps for the summer may be safer than having them be around high risk people as businesses reopen and parents go back to work.

You need to balance perfection (100% of people locked away until a vaccine) with how people will really respond.  We are only 1 month in and lawsuits are starting in my state to undo the directives of the Governor and protests are mounting.  Many businesses have threatening to reopening in my area in defiance to the Governor and several sheriff departments have stated they will not enforce the lockdown.  I'm not a fan of this chaos, only pointing out there is backlash growing and to expect everyone to be locked down in July like they are today is completely unrealistic.

BSA should follow CDC & state guidance.  CDC and the state should be looking at infection rates and balancing the risks.  I trust the CDC and state health departments will make better calls than 100s of individual camps.   At this point, I expect June camps will be (and should be) cancelled, but sometime in July may be ok … but that is a guess.  High Adventure will likely be cancelled for the season (too much potential to mix across country); however, BSA should be preparing as if they are "on" until CDC and state health departments respond. 

The camp we go to is adding guidance and changes for COVID-19.  I think more is needed and will be provided.  As a Troop, we already started to discuss additional steps such as adults in the patrol kitchens to inspect KP, adults helping to enforce hand washing.  No personal KP (disposable only).  Daily temperature checks.  Etc. … I hate this as I generally think adults should be out of the patrol areas, but this year is different.  Nothing will be 100%, but to be fair, I think being outside in the sun and fresh air is much safer than any trip to my local grocery store.

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Addendum to my last post, I’m starting to see a few other camps officially cancel. I suspect the big line is how late can we make payments for expenses (food orders, staff contracts, supplies) and still have camp happen. 

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On 4/20/2020 at 9:59 AM, Eagle1993 said:

.  Nothing will be 100%, but to be fair, I think being outside in the sun and fresh air is much safer than any trip to my local grocery store.

I am involved with the Cub Program so I am watching Webelos and Cub Resident Camp.  I am not sure how the various Summer Camps operate, but one slide from a meeting recently dealth with changes to the dining hall.  They are suggesting 6 people to a table instead of 10.  Its still a dining hall full of people and I don't see how's it going to be a good idea.  And, I am scheduled to be there the first week of June.

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1 hour ago, 5thGenTexan said:

I am involved with the Cub Program so I am watching Webelos and Cub Resident Camp.  I am not sure how the various Summer Camps operate, but one slide from a meeting recently dealth with changes to the dining hall.  They are suggesting 6 people to a table instead of 10.  Its still a dining hall full of people and I don't see how's it going to be a good idea.  And, I am scheduled to be there the first week of June.

Sorry to break it to you, but I don’t think the first week of June will happen 😢.

I don’t see how the 10 to 6 seats will make a huge difference, dining halls are cramped to begin with, making it impossible to spread out.

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10 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

I am involved with the Cub Program so I am watching Webelos and Cub Resident Camp.  I am not sure how the various Summer Camps operate, but one slide from a meeting recently dealth with changes to the dining hall.  They are suggesting 6 people to a table instead of 10.  Its still a dining hall full of people and I don't see how's it going to be a good idea.  And, I am scheduled to be there the first week of June.

Our camp is 100% patrol cooking, there is no dining hall.  Meals are cooked and eaten in Troop camp sites.  Our biggest building simply has a roof over a slab of concrete (no walls).  I agree early June in a building half filled seems risky.

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Here is a list of questions that I think that camps should be able to provide to parents.  Some may imply conditions in my state and not appropriate to all.

What parties and governing authorities influencing summer camp decisions, whether that is to proceed at all, and what alterations to procedures will be made?  What guidelines are around no/go parameters for camps in regards to infection control and the virus?

The President and Governor has outlined a multi-phase program for re-opening the state and businesses.   Under what phases do you feel it is viable to open camp? 

What medical staff is at camp?

Are COVID-19 testing kits available at camp?

Will camp participants temperature be taken as they arrive at camp?  Given that children may carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms, do you think this is enough?

Have you considered limiting international or out of state staffers?  To limit the regional spread of COVID-19 should an outbreak occur, have you considered limiting out of state or out of council campers?

What is the response plan should a participant or staff get infected by COVID-19 at camp?

Should a participant develop symptoms after returning home, what plan is in place to inform the camp and then notify the other participants that they potentially have been infected?

Have you consider having meals at the individual campsites rather than at the cafeteria?

Restaurants have been asked to limit the number of people admitted, currently at 25% capacity, and the size of parties, will the camp cafeteria follow the same rules?

Restaurants have been asked to switch to disposable plates, utensils, and cups.  Will the camp do the same?

How are you facilitating social distancing at camp?

Are you limiting non-campers from entering camp?  Will family dinner night be cancelled?

Are you cancelling campout wide activities such as flag opening and closing ceremonies, and camp-wide campfires?

What programs or activities will be cancelled?

People are required to wear masks while in public, including at state parks.  Will the same requirement be enforced for all camp participants?

What additional cleaning and sanitation actions will be put in place for the cafeteria, bathrooms, equipment and training areas?

Do you have a website that posts the camp the COVID-19 preparation, planning, and response?

What is the refund policy?

 

 

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I'm starting to see several summer camps cancelled.  The below two were announced this week.  Not sure if there were others ….

Blackhawk Area Council (Northern Illinois)

Sam Houston Area Council (Houston Texas)

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Pretty sure ours are about to. There’s a big conference call tonight on the subject, at least on the cub side. But our governor has basically said no camps or pools open till July. 
 

as a side note on that, does anyone have actual signup numbers. Ours are dead. No one signing up, no one asking about it, etc. even if it were allowed, we’d have to cancel because it doesn’t make any financial sense to run a camp with 5 kids. 

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10 minutes ago, malraux said:

Pretty sure ours are about to. There’s a big conference call tonight on the subject, at least on the cub side. But our governor has basically said no camps or pools open till July. 
 

as a side note on that, does anyone have actual signup numbers. Ours are dead. No one signing up, no one asking about it, etc. even if it were allowed, we’d have to cancel because it doesn’t make any financial sense to run a camp with 5 kids. 

We have 34 Scouts signed up for Summer Camp, and a crew of 7 youth for HA.  If they are cancelled, we will run our own programs, subject to state guidelines of course.

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5 minutes ago, malraux said:

Pretty sure ours are about to. There’s a big conference call tonight on the subject, at least on the cub side. But our governor has basically said no camps or pools open till July. 
 

as a side note on that, does anyone have actual signup numbers. Ours are dead. No one signing up, no one asking about it, etc. even if it were allowed, we’d have to cancel because it doesn’t make any financial sense to run a camp with 5 kids. 

Our camp is pushing hard for more signups, even today.  They have emphasized they absolutely plan on holding camp.  Now the CDC and health departments will have a say, and I expect <50% chance it happens.

My Troop has over 40 signed up for summer camp at this time.  Over 400 are signed up for June dates (3 weeks) at the camp we attend.  We had only 1 scout pulled … that could change. We had an ASM get Covid-19 about two weeks ago, but he wants camps to be active and plans to send his kids.    

We have several scout parents that are doctors and nurses … they are signing up as well.  What is interesting, is that the parents who are closer to health care are actually raising less concerns than the parents without health care backgrounds.  Now this could be based upon assumptions from the parents in health care of where we will be at in terms of the infection in late June vs non healthcare parents who are looking at the situation of where we are at now.  Just a guess.

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In most areas, you can't get disinfecting sprays, wipes, or sanitizers except for random shipments.  Media reports say the shortages are caused by demand as well as the unavailability of key ingredients that come from overseas. As businesses ramp up in parts of the country over the next couple weeks, demand will only increase. Shortages are supposed to last at least through July. I'd want to know that a camp has inventory on hand. 

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We are awaiting any concrete statements.  We only have 7 kids signed up at this point, where we would expect 18-20.  Council only just sent the checklist for camp staff to upload forms/training certificates/etc yesterday.  MA pushed the end date for stay-at-home from May 4 to May 18.  Based on what Maine has announced as state plans, as of tomorrow they enter "phase 1", and while they were not exactly explicit in stating "summer camps", their guidelines wouldn't be looking to see groups of greater than 50 until 7/1 at the earliest (all 3 phases do call for anyone who is a non-resident to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Maine, so there is that).  I think I and SM are both of the mind that MA will follow what similar to what Maine is doing, and we won't see our summer camp open before 7/18, which basically kills the summer.  Looking at both Katahdin and Pine Tree councils, they have not made any updates to their Covid-19 statements for a few weeks, so that leaves me feeling melancholy.    

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Local council cancelled traditional summer camp, for "virtual" summer camp. We have folks attending out of council camps who are concerned over a variety of issues: CDC guidelines, State guidelines, and refund policies. Refunds is the big one as one council has not issued refunds, but instead is issuing "credits" instead.

We have 3 Scouts I know for a fact will not be going to camp as they have immunocompromised parents. No way they are risking health.

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